Takazawa or Tapas Molecular Bar
Hi, I am planning my food trip to Japan, but sadly with limited budget, I need to make the choices.
I scored reservation at Narisawa and Kozue at Park Hyatt.
Now I am deciding between Takazawa or the Tapas Molecular Bar.
Any suggestion would be much appreciated.
No no no to Kozue.
I went there once and the food was minuscule, and not particularly special, and the place was quiet in a way that was not fun.
Dishes (i.e., plates & bowls as opposed to food) were gorgeous though.
Go to Ishikawa or Nagazumi instead.
Or if you want to experience the Park Hyatt, just have drinks and nibbles at the New York Bar (no reservations, sitting at the big open granite table is fun).
I have not been to Narisawa but it sounds great.
Takazawa and Tapas are both fun. Takazawa is 'more important' and better food and longer meal. But I would take either of these over Kozue.
re: Uncle Yabai
Indeed. And not weird in a good way. I will never forget how Narisawa managed to destroy perfectly good foie gras terrine by blasting it with liquid nitrogen. Gratuitous nonsense. Or how they drowned a dish in very concentrated squid ink sauce that killed off the delicate, subtly-flavoured ingredients in that dish.
The atmosphere was a bit stiff and formal. Perfectly polite service, but not warm. Not a place to relax. But because the wankerati from the international press rate it and some celebrity chefs endorsed it, it is now touted as one of the best restaurants in Asia. It's not even the best restaurant in Minami Aoyama.
Narisawa - hugely overrated, overpriced and emperor's-new-clothesy. To be avoided at all costs, unless jumping on the international press bandwagon is something you would like to do.
Takazawa and Molecular Tapas Bar are two very different places. It's like asking if you should go to a Japanese or an Italian restaurant - the answer is go italian if you fancy Italian, and go Japanese if you fancy Japanese.
Takazawa is not really a molecular restaurant. They employ some of those methods (the occasional liquid nitrogen etc), but it is not at the forefront at all. It's basically quite innovative cuisine using Japanese ingredients to create Japanese dishes with a European slant (and some of the dishes happen to employ techniques you would associate with places like the Molecular Tapas Bar). What you get is a 7, 9 or 11 course menu of actual courses. Also, it is a proper restaurant with three tables and an all-evening experience.
The Molecular Tapas Bar is basically a gimmicky "meal" of 25 or so little molecular dishes, prepared in gimmicky fashion in front of 7 people looking at the chef as he does his thing and explains the process. There are two sittings (I think 6-8:30 and 8:30 - end, though I last went about 6 years ago so who knows if that has changed), and behind you is a huge space with many people as it is in the middle of a hotel (i.e., the set-up and atmosphere are also completely different from Takazawa).
I find the Molecular Tapas Bar quite fun (though going once or twice was enough, at least for me, though I did very much enjoy it) and if you are into that sort of thing, you should go and explore it.
In other words, either option is fine, but don't decide thinking that you are comparing like and like. Decide on the basis of whether you want a proper molecular experience (with a zero Japanese angle), or a full meal of innovative Japanese/French/European food that also features molecular techniques.
Kozue - I agree with pauliface.
Asomania, thanks. Yeah, I was very uncertain with Narizawa, I always like to try new thing but wasn't too sure if I would enjoy paying load of money for things like dirt soup etc etc.
I now got a reservation for both Takazawa for a proper meal and the Tapas bar just for the experience.
Personally would love to go to Ryugin, but their reservation process is a pain.
Any how, any other recommendation and tips would be much appreciated.
I would also recommend Tofuya Ukai. They are in a Kyoto-tea-house-like setting right by Tokyo Tower.
Service in private rooms of a multi-course, traditional, tofu-centric-but-not-exclusively-so meal is by kimono-clad waitresses.
I have had lunch there twice and would consider it for dinner as well.